A380 At OSH: Yeah, It Was a Hard Landing

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Somewhere in that little book of unwritten rules that pilots are supposed to adhere to is one that says thou shalt not criticize another airman. This is observed or ignored to varying degrees, thus it was no surprise that we received a blizzard of e-mail on Dan Gryder's commentary on the spectacular arrival of the Airbus A380 here in Oshkosh on Tuesday afternoon.

Not to put too delicate a point on it, but the vast majority of this reaction is of the "dear idiots" variety. "You should be embarrassed for doing this," wrote one viewer. But every tenth comment or so is from some heavy driver—Boeing or Airbus—who says Gryder nailed it and had the guts to say so. Most of the adverse reaction attacks not the analysis of the landing itself, but the fact that Gryder stepped over some imaginary line in stating bluntly what he thought of it.

A few correspondents insisted that the 380's touchdown was perfectly normal for airline operations, but my view is that this argument is just not credible. Look at the video again and decide for yourself. If you're a pilot with heavy aircraft experience, I invite you to post your comments below, pro or con. Reasonable people might disagree on this, but my guess is they are sitting around a conference room in Toulouse looking at that video and that the FDR data has been examined.

Some of our correspondents interpret all of this as Airbus bashing. But I actually think it's the reverse. Airbus deserves kudos for bringing the 380 to Oshkosh—not to mention building the thing in the first place—and its awkward touchdown represents one thing and one thing only: less than optimal airmanship on that day, on that landing.

Dan Gryder and I had a conversation about his description of the touchdown as "ugly," a word that inflamed many who saw the video. When I brought the subject up, he looked at me as if to ask if I'd call the landing pretty. Ummm, no, I wouldn't, although some e-mail improbably insisted that it was. Gryder likes his truth unvarnished and referring to the rule above, some readers and viewers don't like the truth at all and would simply prefer to leave the subject untouched. As an aviation Web site, we promote the industry vigorously, but that doesn't mean we have to be mindless cheerleaders.

And at this juncture, a word about editorial judgment. When I was editing the video and patching in Gryder's comments, I had some misgivings about the commentary being too strong. I won't pretend to say that we aired the video in the name of aviation safety. We aired it because it was interesting and Gryder's comments—whether you agree with them or not—represented what seems to be popularly called a teachable moment.

If I had the judgment to make again, I'd make it the same way.

Comments (64)

I'm not a heavy driver, but to me you guys called it as it was.

Posted by: Josh Martin | July 30, 2009 9:54 AM    Report this comment

Yeah, it's not a greaser but I bet the pilot hadn't practiced many short-field crosswind landings with a big crowd watching, some benefit of the doubt might have been nicer than a criticism.

I heard a laughter in the tone that suggested glee that the pilot had "screwed up", and that's what rubbed me the wrong way when I saw the video.

Over at PPRUNE the heavy drivers are saying he kept in that crab so you could all take better pictures :)

Posted by: Paul Sanders | July 30, 2009 10:52 AM    Report this comment

what ever happened to the saying "any landing you can walk away from is a good one"?

Posted by: MICHAEL SULLIVAN | July 30, 2009 2:36 PM    Report this comment

Dan's analysis is dead on. Any way you slice it this was not a "pretty" landing. Remove the whole x-wind/side load thing, and its still one heck of an "arrival". We've all done em, it happens, and I'll stand at the cockpit door and take my licks when it does! I don't think there is any "short field" excuse for landing that hard either. Next you have the whole landing sideways thing, and thats what really makes this ugly. Now I realize there are some aircraft whose manuals state to land in a crab, they are in the minority. Don't know if the A-380 is one of em, but just watching that video doesn't make much of a case for doing it that way! OUCH! How much does a new set of tires cost for that beast? If I'm buying em those guys are gonna do a rug dance for me. There is just no getting around the fact that landing an airplane with sideways drift is poor technique and harder on the aircraft, not too mention much less smooth. Looks like he got about 1G lateral there on the touchdown! If this is what fly by wire in an Airbus looks like, and I think it is, you can have it! Maybe they forgot to put on their flying gloves (hehe), but I think they just need a few trips around the patch in a real airplane, and that means something with a tailwheel! Dan are you listening?

Posted by: Paul Schulten | July 30, 2009 3:33 PM    Report this comment

What has not been discussed is how close the mains were to the dirt. 30 feet? And I don't mean vertically. The ILS is out of service so that did not help. I flew the A-320 for ten years and the FBW system is a joy to use. Crosswind landings are different but not difficult. Only apply rudder and don't mess with the ailerons. The system will lower the wing on it's own

Posted by: Mark McCormick | July 30, 2009 11:36 PM    Report this comment

The only other A380 landing I've seen was when it landed in California for the first time. I can't find the video now, but as I recall, the plane nearly ground looped. A sample of two has virtually no reliability, but for this one viewer who has only seen two landings on video -- I have yet to see a smooth A380 landing and roll out. Surely not every landing is like that....?

Posted by: Gregory Brown | July 31, 2009 6:58 AM    Report this comment

The A380 is a remarkable piece of engineering. But what struck me were the logos of the sponsors, customers, and vendors on the side of the A380's forward fuselage. There were no "American" companies involved. Somewhat representative of the lost engineering, skills, and jobs in the United States.

Posted by: Robert Leonard | July 31, 2009 7:19 AM    Report this comment

I agree that the job of AvWeb and, in fact, all aviation journalists is to be critical thinkers and not cheerleaders. It is the company marketing departments we expect to be cheerleading, which is why we don't believe them very often. So please keep doing the critical thinking, the analysis and publish it. Aviation is made better, not worse, when carefully and thoughtfully criticized.

Posted by: Adam Hunt | July 31, 2009 7:40 AM    Report this comment

I am a recently retired 777 Captain, experienced on Airbus, Boeing, Douglas, and Lockheed, both narrow and widebodies. I instructed on Airbus, Boeing, and Douglas. I agree with the circumspect approach to commenting on other's landings; I was not in the cockpit. However, since that protocol is breached in this case. The landing was ugly. The sink rate was brutal and landing in a crab is not good; way too much mass moving around with potential for an excursion. Some pilots are afraid of dinging a pod with wing down. I reviewed podstrikes. In one 36 month period, an airline had 33 podstrikes in a fleet of 39 (same type)aircraft. All were the result of landing in a crab and the aircraft rocking over as it swung after touchdown. Aircraft large and small obey the same physics. Land straight, on centerline, with minimal sinkrate and no lateral motion. Short field can be demonstrated without the drama demonstrated here. I hope the aircraft has a hard landing check before further flight.

Posted by: Brian Hope | July 31, 2009 7:53 AM    Report this comment

Another 777 driver chiming in. I was there, probably 1000' from the touchdown point. I was shocked by how hard the landing was, the wingtips deflected downwards an amazing amount. To me, it would have required a hard landing inspection, but with the FDR and flight test equipment onboard, an objective determination of the G loads imposed should be available. In airline ops, everyone thinks a smooth touchdown is paramount, but in some conditions it is much better, and safer, to just get it on and stop. I agree on the nonsense of intentionally landing in a crab, much better to forward slip vitually any aircraft save some tactical types. Still, I think Gryder's comments were over the top, and he was clearly enjoying the moment too much. You never know what the situation is exactly unless you are sitting in the cockpit.

Posted by: Bill Mcclure | July 31, 2009 8:17 AM    Report this comment

Useful information; see section 3-4-1 (page 140 PDF):

http://www.content.airbusworld.com/SITES/Technical_Data/docs/AC/DATA_CONSULT/AC_A380.pdf

The priority was to land and stop before reaching Aeroshell Square (5500-6000 ft?).

Video of the entire approach and landing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-rasGXNoZ8

Posted by: Dan Horton | July 31, 2009 8:43 AM    Report this comment

Sorry, Paul Bertorelli, I missed that book! I have never heard that one should do anything about a landing like that except : look at it, study it, analyze it, talk about it, sleep on it, chew on it, LEARN FROM IT, but don’t let anyone try to say it didn’t happen. Professionals can, DO and SHOULD critique each other - every day. An attitude of “not criticizing” will do nothing but get people hurt and should never be condoned! In any form! No matter how anyone tries to white wash it for whatever reasons they may have in doing so ---- that was one BAD landing!!!!!! Whether human or auto-pilot! The crosswind component of that day (or any of the other excuses I have seen here) should have been no factor to anyone. I feel very confident that Airbus is taking this very seriously -- AS THEY SHOULD. Bet ya ten bucks that thing is gonna get one h--- of an inspection before it leaves the ground again! It would not surprise me to hear that even the FAA will be looking at it! That airplane said "ouch" in big way! Anyone that does not recognize that landing as a problem better take up tiddlywinks or maybe go back to flying their Wii. You should get all issues out in the open and not sweep anything under the carpet for fear of “offending” someone. Shame on all of you who are bashing Dan for telling the truth - in a VERY nice way. As far the “smug” look on his face – all I saw was a friendly smile! Thanks Dan. Aviation needs more like you! Ken Terry Retired 747 Captain

Posted by: Ken Terry | July 31, 2009 8:48 AM    Report this comment

I am a retired 737 driver. It was a hard landing. Plain and simple. If they did not do a hard landing inspection, someone in the future will probably have to deal with something breaking on the jet. Hopefully it will be on the ground when that happpens.

Posted by: mark starr | July 31, 2009 9:05 AM    Report this comment

I'm a retired (32 years) pilot with widebody experience in DC-10s, MD-11s and the wonderful B-747. I have landed in conditions like the crew of the A380 experienced. But my airline preached kicking out the crab to reduce the strain on the landing gear. It worked for years for me but like many have said "any landing you can walk away from, with out breaking the airplane, is a good landing. My response to these things is "you have to have been in the seat" to really comment on another's landing...

Posted by: Don Elliott | July 31, 2009 9:24 AM    Report this comment

In the 'officially sanctioned' video of the A380's arrival, the pilot was praised as dealing with a challenging crosswind. I remarked to a non-pilot coworker that if it had been done right, nothing would need to be said -- if it had been done superbly we wouldn't have known there was anything to talk about.

I suspect that the pilot's actions may have been influenced by the preception of a short runway. OSK 18/36 is 8k, compared to 10-12,000 at the likes of JFK, LAX, CDG, etc. Having trained on a 4,400 ft runway, my first attempt to land on 2,200 looked alarmingly tight, though it was more than adequate for the aircraft I was flying with proper technique. I could easily envision the abruptness of the arrival as the result of a desire to get rubber on pavement and immediately stand on the brakes and spool up the thrust reversers.

Posted by: David Torrente | July 31, 2009 9:35 AM    Report this comment

Since it was a test bird, perhaps they were just expanding the envelope.

Posted by: John La Jeunesse | July 31, 2009 9:37 AM    Report this comment

Perhaps some people are just jealous cause they don't have a bird like the A380. I worked at an airport where they did lots of test flying of the A380 and have seen many landing and some very bad and done on purpose. The aircraft is taken to extremes during testing and so it should to ensure safety in all conditions. I have watched 747 going through the same tests with the same results. Wing flexing is part of the design because if it didn’t flex it would break. The concern is when the wing tip or engine carrousel touches the ground then it becomes a problem.

The CPD engineers (Engineers with CAA, FAA and EASA approved signatories) whose purpose is to look at such incidents would have given it flight approval. That is the testament of how good the A380 is. Sorry gents but that is life.

Boeing by the way has to use the same procedures because that is a FAA, CAA and EASA requirement for flight safety.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | July 31, 2009 10:06 AM    Report this comment

Who of us hasn't come in crabbed, taken off some rubber and stressed the gear. That's what engineers are for, to design it so the gear won't rip off when we come in "a little crabbed". Great job of engineering. As for the pilots job, he brought a huge aircraft in sideways in front of God and everyone at Oshkosh and walked away. Great Landing!

Posted by: R.t. Malone | July 31, 2009 10:14 AM    Report this comment

How many tailweel aircraft groundlooped in the crosswind that day?

Posted by: Ralph Huy | July 31, 2009 10:40 AM    Report this comment

It looks the same on this clip from the A380 landing at LAX http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNk9o6SX5_8. I starting to think that this plane just lands "ugly".

Posted by: Andreas Glöckner | July 31, 2009 10:51 AM    Report this comment

I was trained by British Airways as a Purser. I worked 25 years for an American Carrier. I watched in amazement the video of the hard Oshkosh landing, thanking my lucky stars for the truly well trained pilots our company generated and the excellent Boeing equipment I chose to fly on. $12,000 Singapore Air charges to ride up front. No American carrier ordered them..smart. After comforting what would have been over 500 plus screaming passengers and cabin staff, I would have had to scramble to make an apologetic P.A., and have to be tactful in the way I told the pilot, HE needed to apologize…..and then the Airline would have had to get EAP and lots of amenity coupons. And that would only be the beginning….. Airbus has blown several airshows…. If it ain’t Boeing, I’m not going….anywhere. Keep telling the truth Dan, the public deserves no less.

Susan Konig, R. N. Purser/Retired

Posted by: Sue Konig | July 31, 2009 11:19 AM    Report this comment

Hi... I fly the current version of the Airbus 300/310 series - heavy types. I also instruct in the jet. Airbus typically allows and promotes crab landings, up to a point. In many of these large jets, you don't have much choice but to land in somewhat of a crab, as when you reach the upper crosswind limits, you begin to run out of rudder. We promote the Airbus guidance, yet insist that no lateral movement/side loading of the wheels occur. So, yep a combo of wing down/opposite rudder/crab is certainly acceptable, and as I say condoned by Airbus in its guidance to pilots.

In this video, it appears the pilots wanted to show the ability of the A380 to land via crab, but it appears the pilot was late in arresting the rate of sink.

We've all made firm landings - me included - but we also know, the wind is never constant, nor the temperature, AND, if these guys just made a non-stop crossing from Toulouse, FR, God bless 'em, as it was the end of a long day...

Many happy landing.

Posted by: Byron Cobb | July 31, 2009 11:49 AM    Report this comment

Paul Sanders hit the nail on the head. I don't think there's any problem in observing that it appeared to be a hard landing, and even speculating a bit on what might have caused it. You could even have provided a bit of education by telling your viewers what might be necessary in terms of an inspection after a landing like that.

But, the tone of the commentary was inappropriate and unprofessional. It's one thing to comment on another pilot's apparent error, but it's quite another to make light of it, which is what your video did.

Posted by: Michael Kobb | July 31, 2009 12:23 PM    Report this comment

I've been flying for over 40 years and type rated as Captain for 20 years on the A320, A330, B737, and B767. Unfortunately today most people don't get proper training in crosswind landings. The only times I have had to ever take the plane away from an F/O, was in a botched crosswind landing. These guys are not "pilots", they don't have "the right stuff", they drove it on and almost caused a disaster. Maybe they should get checked out in a tailwheel aircraft when they get home.

Posted by: Bob Colvin | July 31, 2009 1:29 PM    Report this comment

I was travelling down from Windhoek to Cape Town via Uppington. A rain shower just past through Uppington and the Pilot elected to land the aircraft hard in fact he landed very hard. There was no apology from the pilot and when asked (by an irate German) told him he had to, to ensure the tires got through the water onto the tarmac. No one else was really perturbed we all talked about the hard landing. Passengers were off loaded and new passengers loaded and the aircraft took off and we flew to Cape Town without event. The Aircraft was a Boeing 747.

The new big aircraft (747, 777, 787 A380 and A350 types) are going to be built in China and India. Airbus and Boeing have already signed agreements with both countries to build many parts for their aircraft it is only a matter of time before they take over and build the whole aircraft with massive loss of jobs to both America and Europe.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | July 31, 2009 1:38 PM    Report this comment

@Bob Colvin

Word on other websites is that PF was Terry Lutz, USAF TPS graduate and SEP member. Not sure someone I'd describe as lacking the "right stuff."

Posted by: Claudio Wolter | July 31, 2009 2:33 PM    Report this comment

On the video I saw, (linked above) the inboard port (#2) engine visibly went into reverse - but the outboard engine didn't - or is the method of reverse thrust different between the inboard and outboard engines? If only partial reverse available - was the pilot coming in slowly to compensate, especially in light of a short runway, hence the unexpected sink rate? Anyway, as a student pilot (and thereafter) I perfected what I call the "Bounce and Go" - as indeed most of us did - so I will reserve judgement!

Posted by: daniel spitzer | July 31, 2009 3:25 PM    Report this comment

"Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing." True enough, but incomplete. Although I've been a pilot since 1972, and heard that phrase innumerable times, I only heard the following coda for the first time this year: "But any landing after which the aeroplane is REUSABLE, is a GREAT landing!"

By that standard, and subject to the results of post-cr-- er, post-LANDING analysis and inspection, I submit to the forum that it was a GREAT landing!

Crab notwithstanding, the only real problem I see with the landing was the vertical speed at touchdown. And that was obviously due to the failure of the aircraft to round out as it entered ground effect. Why not? A question for the experts.

The question WE all need to ask ourselves: how many crosswind landings had the pilots made, on short runways, in the last 90 days? This question has been raised, but needs to be really considered seriously. I'm sure the 380 pilots do NOT levitate to get dressed, but put their pants on one leg at a time, same as do we all.

So, call it like you see it, but compassion, rather than glee, should be in the mix as well. If your fanny wasn't in the seat, you don't know all the factors.

Takeaway? By the above definition -- a great landing.

My $0.02.

--The BeachComer (also, any landing after which you don't have to RUN AWAY from the aeroplane!!)

Posted by: Beach Comer | July 31, 2009 4:08 PM    Report this comment

What was not stated in the video & doesn't seem to be understood here (except by Dan Horton), is that he had to make the turn off at AeroShell Square (5500')or be stranded on the runway. This taxiway is 75' wide. The airplane is too big to use the other 50' wide taxiways at Osh or to make a 180 on the runway. Also note that outboard engine reverse was not used, because of fear of FOD ingestion, as these engines overhang the turf. As a result of these factors, he was obviously attempting to make a short landing, which we all know can be challenging in adverse winds. What he achieved appeared to be a classic "FAA arrival", similar to those made by chief pilots & FAA inspectors on the rare occasions when they go flying.

The old airline definition of a hard landing is when it drops the O2 masks in the cabin.

Posted by: Bob Merritt | July 31, 2009 6:58 PM    Report this comment

Even to a non heavy driver it was a hard landing. I worked at Airbus during the development of the A380. The fly-by-wire software was a real challenge. I remember the commentator saying that the fly-by-wire system is supposed to compensate for cross wind landings by aligning the airplane with the runway just before the wheels touch the ground. He said that the fly-by-wire system is supposed to mimic the flight characteristics of other airbus airplanes handle to ease transition to the A380. Does anyone else remember this comment? Before we judge the pilot we should see if there was a problem with the fly-by-wire system. The pilot might have saved the day by compensating for an error the fly-by-wire software.

Posted by: Dana Nickerson | July 31, 2009 8:24 PM    Report this comment

The heaviest thing I fly is a Beech Travel Air but I have been taught that techniques I have learned so far translate all the way up to the heavy iron; Land with the longitdinal axis of the AC on the centerline. Crab or Slip is ok depending on conditions AC, airspeed, flap setting but take the crab out before touch down. Minimum decent rate possible for conditions at touchdown.

The examiner on my commercial check ride wanted me to "plant the aircraft firmly" within the allowable touchdown zone "which is what your goal is in heavier airplanes".

I don't have any idea what the operation manual for the 380 is but I suspect that the crew did not exceed any operational limits for the AC on the landing.

Looking at the flybys I was amazed at how the AC performed low and slow and what kind of climb rate it had in the landing configuration. I commented that I thought the captain was doing his BFR then imagined how many sim hours and actual hours he had in the AC. They did not let a newly minted FO who just completed his type rating do the landing.

Finally, I agree that critique is fine and good, that is how we learn. I also agree that the art of reporting and writing is dead or dying because too many of these blogs have too much attitude in them.

The person who posted the "Any landing you walk away from is a good one" is right on but I bet the Captain of the 380 already knows what he will do differently on his next cross wind landing.

Posted by: John Powalisz | July 31, 2009 9:53 PM    Report this comment

I think what rubbed people the wrong way (including me) was the tone of the commentary, and especially some not-so professional sounding comments by Dan, like “ugly”, “really hard landing”, “moment of impact”, "looks like the airplane will still be usable" (Huh?)

I also think the commentary was not as professional as it should have been, for the single reason it presented only a critisizing personal view of one person, without him giving the mitigating circumstances that contributed to the extra-firm landing, such as stop length, runway width, crosswinds, etc.

Not to mention the ESPN-style instant-replay analysis…

I said extra-firm landing, because there was no big bounce at touchdown resulting in the wheels lifting off again (which can cause troublesome floating in crosswinds), which seems to imply to me that the sink rate was nomimal, maybe a bit on the higher side of the envelope. I was taught to plant it down and keep it down in crosswinds, and I think he meant to do the same; he may just planted it just a tad harder!

There is a video of SAA’s 747 SP landing in a small runway and it also exchibits the same “plant it down” landing.

Posted by: Christos Psarras | July 31, 2009 10:27 PM    Report this comment

I'm an MD11 Captain for a major US cargo airline with lots of heavy jet time and its plane and simple he landed hard and it wasnt pretty and you can use all the excuses you want to justify it but at my company I would have to write up a hard landing in the logbook for maintanence to inspect the airplane. Also to one comment on the use of inboard reverse to avoid fod, wrong, the A380 has only inboard reversers.

Posted by: mark dean | July 31, 2009 10:46 PM    Report this comment

@ Bob Merritt & daniel spitzer: Well spotted about the reverse, yet there's one technical issue you missed: A380 doesn't have reverse on outboard engines (to save weight). An finally to Dana Nickerson: FBW software don't usually have errors, only pilots. That piece of software is the most thoroughly tested one can think of. Besides, it's completely deterministic, it's not like the OS on your PC. My 2 cents worth

Posted by: Emmanuel Alibert | August 1, 2009 7:33 AM    Report this comment

But software is man made and therefore subject to errors. Thats why there are various versions to download to upgrade the system

Posted by: mark dean | August 1, 2009 7:24 PM    Report this comment

@ Mark Dean,

Sort of, but Boeing, Airbus, etc, test their software a bit better than Microsoft does with Windows, as the result of a software crash can be significantly different between the two!

Posted by: Christos Psarras | August 2, 2009 12:34 AM    Report this comment

Sure, the landing was hard....but it is a test airplane. Do you really think it was harder than a great many other hard landings done on purpose during the test program?

There were no paying passengers, and no need for a smiling captain by the door to accept the admiration of the tourists. There was no reason at all to grease it on. On the contrary, I think Lutz put it dead on the numbers as planned, stopped short as plannned, and did so within the demonstrated landing-G envelope....as planned.

Speaking of professional standards, I also think the "coverage" demonstrated standards somewhat lower than usual for AvWeb. The "report" was pure sensationalism. Journalism would be interviewing someone from Airbus (preferably the flight crew, not an Airbus corporate media hack) and asking for the actual landing G value and G limits.

Posted by: Dan Horton | August 2, 2009 7:14 AM    Report this comment

About subject: There's a straightforward way to find out if it was a hard landing: Verify if the requisite inspection was made. If it was not, publish that.

About style: That "analysis" was so unprofessional you almost lost me as a reader. Only this article above is a bit of an excuse. Even the discussion on pprune has a higher level of professionalism and is more balanced.

Posted by: Max Lange | August 2, 2009 9:35 AM    Report this comment

Dan's analysis is dead on. This was not a "pretty" landing. Non pilots seldom have the expertise to know if a particular maneuver is "Safe" or done correctly. We need journalist that give the straight facts. The A-380 pilots will probably not be happy until what will be the most watched take off of the week is behind them and they are home. I recently retired from 40 years of flying and like most pilots I have had several landings that I would like to forget. I now fly a computer and when "it" makes a mistake I blame it on Bill Gates.

Posted by: Davis Newman | August 2, 2009 2:50 PM    Report this comment

Just for Mark: the software for Airbus aircraft was designed, develope, written and tested in the USA so put the software down and you are putting down America. There are a lot of part manufactured in the USA that are used on the Airbus aircrafts.

Lastly how many have put their aircraft down hard and then had to re-land it because is took off again and is atleast 10feet higher than the runway See you next time

Posted by: Bruce Savage | August 2, 2009 4:35 PM    Report this comment

No I'm not putting down America so stop right there. On the MD11 I fly we have had 6 revisions to the flight computer software. So all the testing is not perfect and as long as human input is involved there will be errors. Nothing man made is "PERFECT"

Posted by: mark dean | August 2, 2009 8:12 PM    Report this comment

Hehe gotch ya. Dont worry Mark there is nothing perfect in this world and what one person thinks is perfect another will consider it imperfect. Engineers write specifications and the software works according to that specification. Then some NUT will want a change so the specification needs to be re-drafted and the software re-written. So the software doesn't fail its the engineers didn't get it right the first time.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | August 3, 2009 4:12 AM    Report this comment

Call it what you want: that grin on the face of your reporters is malicious joy, or "Schadenfreude", as we call it in German. The landing was cr*p, no doubt, but that grin just shouldn't be there on the face of a fellow pilot, period. It'll happen to you, too, guys.

I have been a keen reader of AVwebs newsletters for many years...therefore I think I know it well. That means I also know that it's got a definite "protectionist" flavor in favor of each and everything American. That's just fine, us Europeans are just as proud and protectionist...so let's admit that this is the real story behind that grin, nothing more and nothing less.

Best regards from Europe!

Posted by: Jan Ahlers | August 3, 2009 8:13 AM    Report this comment

Grin or not, what was said was the truth. It might have all been a little over-dramatized, but in the end, the landing was definitely not as good as it could have been.

http://snipr.com/om36c - Great Article on the subject.

As far as 'visible glee' and such, you're reading too much into it. You'd be hard pressed to find any pilot at AirVenture not smiling from ear to ear.

Posted by: Steven Long | August 3, 2009 12:46 PM    Report this comment

No pilot makes 100% perfect landings, so, the experienced A380 pilot did not make a perfect landing in Oshkosh that day. It is normal.

Was it a really hard landing? Do you think the pilot will pass his check ride with the FAA examiner if he lands the aircraft that hard during the check ride?

Posted by: Tuan Tran | August 4, 2009 9:37 AM    Report this comment

no it was not: there are no burst tires and the aircraft didn't hop into the air again. some say it is because the wings flexed. if the wing tips touched the ground then you can say it was a hard landing. Oh and the pilot doesn't do check rides with FAA he does it with EASA

Posted by: Bruce Savage | August 4, 2009 1:11 PM    Report this comment

Anyone consider it was a 'hard' landing by 'design' ???

Is there a 'MARK' on the end of 36L, that no other plane could make ???

Unfortunately we departed OSH on 27, so I didn't get to see ...

I will certainly remember the A380 at OSH . . .

Posted by: Stewart Tattersall | August 5, 2009 7:45 AM    Report this comment

Yes Stweart all heavies are designed to withstand hard landings otherwise we wold have lots of aircrafts stranded at airports without landing gear.

Pity you didn't take a look at the runway did anyone else take a look. Two issues here 1) the FAA and Airbus would not have allowed the A380 to land at the airport if the runway was not capable of absorbing the 1.5 to 2g of MTOW. 2) The Aircraft even with all the test equipment on board does not get anywhere near MTOW. To your last statement it means the marketing guys at Airbus did a great job, well done to them.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | August 5, 2009 8:22 AM    Report this comment

In the context of hard landings, here is a nice one from Alan Cockrell's excellent blog: http://alancockrell.blogspot.com/2009/08/three-holer-legacy.html

Posted by: Jan Ahlers | August 5, 2009 9:06 AM    Report this comment

Dan, Keep telling it like it is. I witnessed the landing and commented to my pilot wife that he "hammered it in", to which she agreed.

Sure we all have the occasional hard landing but I would expect more from someone showing off a new plane at Oshkosh!

Great reporting on the show AVweb.

Posted by: Ric Lee | August 6, 2009 12:14 PM    Report this comment

How could any pilot land the thing in a crosswind without having to crab? Crabbing is an iffy method of landing at best). I think that the engineers had better re-think their design and put the inboard engine pods a little higher off the ground, so that the pilots can land in a normal manner.

Posted by: Terry Van Blaricom | August 7, 2009 2:26 AM    Report this comment

To Bruce Savage (message posted on August 2, 2009) You stated that "the software for Airbus aircraft was designed, develope, written and tested in the USA so put the software down and you are putting down America". Wow, that's... inaccurate. The software running on some of the boxes in the aircraft is definitely supplied by US equipment makers. But the FBW software (both primary and fall-back system) are both 100% made in Europe (France, AFAIK). And this code is not hand-written, but automatically generated from formal models, the code generation tool having been seriously tested!

Posted by: Emmanuel Alibert | August 8, 2009 1:26 AM    Report this comment

I have flown with Dan Gryder, both as a student in the DC-3 and a fellow pilot and I have known him for nearly 5 years - I respect and trust his flying abilities and knowledge - He is HONEST and TRUTHFUL in his critiques of all things aviation. As a professional pilot (retired), I would not want or expect ANYTHING less from an instructor or a fellow aircrew, no matter what the circumstances were.

Posted by: Charlie Atterbury | August 8, 2009 11:55 PM    Report this comment

Reminds me of a story related by Dave Gwinn in a publication he used to write for - his (former Navy pilot) FO was impressed by his crosswind landing technique (crab kickout if I remember right), and asked where he learned to do that. "In C150s" was the reply.

I'm thinking wheels were meant to roll in one direction, no matter how good design engineers are. And big or small, if an aircraft has to be landed that hard to get into a particular field, should it be there at all?

What important item is going to break later as a result of handling like that, whether done on accident or on purpose?

Posted by: Mike Holshouser | August 13, 2009 10:41 AM    Report this comment

Didn't the C-130 have the ability to crank the landing gear around to allow landing in a crab...I'm ex-Navy so I'm not sure. We just had the ship's captain get the carrier nosed into the wind!

Posted by: Don Elliott | August 13, 2009 3:55 PM    Report this comment

B-52

Posted by: Bob Merritt | August 13, 2009 7:55 PM    Report this comment

I'm pretty sure the C-5 can do it.

Posted by: Mike Holshouser | August 13, 2009 8:41 PM    Report this comment

I thought the piece to camera was fine. I would not like my landings to be discussed like that but I bet its happened before and will again! Maybe he expected a little more ground effect from the clearly light AC. Either way, I can't think of a much more pressure-laden landing! Maybe a longer, less crowd-pleasing approach was warranted.

Posted by: john hogan | August 23, 2009 10:22 AM    Report this comment

During the demonstration the pilot was horsing the plane around pretty good; the landing was not that bad at all. I doubt if anyone here could short field a huge A380 any better...

Posted by: Mark Fraser | August 25, 2009 8:31 AM    Report this comment

It was not "pretty".

But . . . . .

He did not bounce.

Big span = large (visible/vertical) wingtip deflections.

Highly entertaing!!!!

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